As we enter a new period of wholesale copyright revision, this Note examines the interplay of copyright and technology through a brief exploration of In re Cellco Partnership. Part II of the Note explores the history of copyright reform, the music industry, and performance-rights organizations. Part III explores In re Cellco and reveals that the decision is symptomatic of both a Copyright Act and music industry in need of reform, and is at odds with the normative value of copyright as an incentive for creators. Part IV explores how we should restore this normative value by rebalancing the bargaining power of songwriters and the vertically integrated music industry. It further argues that the appropriate rebalancing can occur by amending the Copyright Act with two provisions inspired by German copyright law: First, our Copyright Act should have a contract-reformation provision for instances in which a copyright transferee benefits disproportionately from new technology. And second, our Copyright Act should offer a limited reversionary right to the creator when a copyright transferee opts not to exploit the work through new technology. Part V concludes the Note.
Kurt E. Kruckeberg, Copyright “Band-Aids” and the Future of Reform, 34 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1545 (2011).